Paint Fumes and Street Art

Helo

New member
As I sit here, basting in paint remover fumes from an over-zealous landlord trying to sterilize the walls of the first floor, I cant help but wonder why a blank, beige wall is better than the tags that were previously there.

I live in a neighborhood that is not the greatest so street art is everywhere. I personally like it, even the sloppy tags, it all adds something to walking down the streets.

There's huge double standards when it comes to street art and I feel like people refuse to see it as a legitimate form of expression.

What do you think when you see graffiti or street art?
 

nycindie

Active member
It's usually really ugly and poorly executed, so I generally hate it. Once in a great while I will see something that is clever or well-done by someone talented, and I can admire the creativity, but it still is vandalizing someone's property and that just isn't right. If you pay a mortgage on a building, you don't want some idiot coming along and wrecking it with paint. If a landlord commissions it, that's fine, but it is still usually pretty ugly even then.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
I tend to agree.
There is an artist from Hawaii. Waylan. I love his work.
But, they commissioned a piece by him for a wall downtown where I live-GOD AWFUL!
I don't like any of the "wall art" downtown. Its terrible.
 

Helo

New member
It's usually really ugly and poorly executed, so I generally hate it. Once in a great while I will see something that is clever or well-done by someone talented, and I can admire the creativity, but it still is vandalizing someone's property and that just isn't right. If you pay a mortgage on a building, you don't want some idiot coming along and wrecking it with paint. If a landlord commissions it, that's fine, but it is still usually pretty ugly even then.
That's part of where I think the double standard is (not with you specifically but with the idea that you're vandalizing someone's property and that makes street art wrong).

There are giant billboards along virtually every street in the country. It's virtually impossible to escape these monolithic images. I dislike them, they very clearly have an impact on the public, and they're often on public property. Yet no one really seems to want to decry them as being blights.

Why is it acceptable to have a giant advertisement on a public street but not street art?


As far as it being ugly, I agree that there's a lot of pieces I really dislike but I prefer to see tags that I may like not rather than plain walls or advertisements.
 
Last edited:

nycindie

Active member
There are giant billboards along virtually every street in the country. It's virtually impossible to escape these monolithic images. I dislike them, they very clearly have an impact on the public, and they're often on public property. Yet no one really seems to want to decry them as being blights.

You either haven't been paying attention, or are too young to realize that there have been many protests against billboards through the years, in lots of places. Plenty of towns and counties all over the country have ordinances that do not allow advertising billboards (and/or neon signs). There was a huge outcry against American Apparel's billboard on Houston Street in NYC a few years ago - it was vulgar, sexist, and gigantic, and people protested it quite loudly. I think someone even vandalized it! Sometimes billboards are taken down if enough people complain.

Of course, in many locations and situations, billboards can be a blight. Just because they are commissioned and paid for, common sense will tell you that it doesn't mean everyone's happy about them all the time. Do a little research in online news archives for some history. Billboards can be provocative, crass, and/or block people's views of the scenery beyond. Of course not everyone likes them. But many billboard advertisements have made a positive impression and become part of popular culture. They are also used for public service announcements, not just ads.

Graffiti is just vandalism of someone's private property or government property -- and even if it looks good, it's still vandalism, unlawful, and costs the property owners or municipalities lots of money to remove it, just to satisfy the graffiti "artist's" own arrogant need to get away with something they know they shouldn't be doing. Those people are no better than then fare jumpers. They act so entitled and oppressed, but they are taking liberties with things that don't belong to them.

Why is it acceptable to have a giant advertisement on a public street but not street art?
Graffiti and street art aren't always the same thing. But street art is acceptable if it isn't going against the law to be there.
 
Last edited:

Helo

New member
You either haven't been paying attention, or are too young to realize that there have been many protests against billboards through the years, in many places. Many places don't allow them, or neon signs. There was a huge outcry against American Apparel's billboard on Houston Street in NYC a few years ago - it was vulgar, sexist, and gigantic, and people protested it quite loudly. I think someone even vandalized it! Sometimes billboards are taken down if enough people complain.

Of course, in many locations and situations, billboards can be a blight. Just because they are commissioned and paid for, common sense will tell you that it doesn't mean everyone's happy about them all the time. Do a little research in online news archives for some history. Billboards can be provocative, crass, and/or block people's views of the scenery beyond. Of course not everyone likes them. But many billboard advertisements have made a positive impression and become part of popular culture. They are also used for public service announcements, not just ads.
I'm aware of the outcry against them, I'm also aware that nobody who can do anything about it seems to care.

Street art is taken as a "gateway crime" and a symbol of all that's bad and criminal about a neighborhood. Nobody in authority comes out and blames billboards for being a symbol of the over-commercialization of our society or or rampant consumerism, there are precious few op-eds that call for all ads to be removed from public view and no municipality provides support to citizens who want to remove advertising they dislike.

Graffiti is just vandalism of someone's private property or government property -- and even if it looks good, it's still vandalism, unlawful, and costs the property owners or municipalities lots of money to remove it, just to satisfy the graffiti "artist's" own arrogant need to get away with something they know they shouldn't be doing. Those people are no better than then fare jumpers. They act so entitled and oppressed, but they are taking liberties with things that don't belong to them.
Malware and adware are vandalism of private property as well, we know who's doing it, and yet again I see no outcry from elected officials that there is a blight. Companies that participate in and fund these activities are plainly apparent, their NAME is in the ads this software spawns onto your machine, yet I see no serious effort to eradicate it from those who have the ability to do so.

Instead, I see millions being poured into vandal units in police departments, graffiti removal teams, graffiti-proof coatings on surfaces, and anti-street art propaganda spun from all corners.

And in the case of property that is in the public domain, why is there a need to remove it? The public placed the art there, why does it need to be removed?

Graffiti and street art aren't always the same thing. But street art is acceptable if it isn't going against the law to be there.
Why does a work's legal status effect its right to survive? There's wonderful art across the world that is considered illegal by the government of where it was created, should that art also be destroyed because it violates the law?
 

nycindie

Active member
And in the case of property that is in the public domain, why is there a need to remove it? The public placed the art there, why does it need to be removed?
What kind of property is in the public domain? Most property belongs to either a private person or a government entity. Even a public park has some entity in charge of its care and upkeep. Someone pays for mowing grass and repairing sidewalks, usually the taxpayers, through the municipality, but sometimes a cooperative organization. There are budgets and funding to make the public property accessible and safe for everyone, and rules that get made for maintaining such upkeep. It isn't free or cheap to maintain property, so why do vandals think they are entitled to leave their spraypaint on it?

Sure, some of it looks good but if a person is stupid enough to leave their creation on something where it is not allowed to be, then they take a chance that it will be destroyed. There was a huge tower erected in a community garden in the East Village, made out of bits and pieces of junk, and it was torn down because it was considered unsafe. People were upset because they said it was art, but the creator of it didn't want to find a private location and pay to move it somewhere else, so away it goes. I had a wonderful art teacher once who said, "Never treat your art as too precious." Sometimes it has a short lifespan. So what? The world keeps spinning. Ask permission to do it first, and then put your graffiti up in an honest way, but there is a reason that graffiti artists scurry away like thieves trying not to get caught.
 

Helo

New member
What kind of property is in the public domain? Most property belongs to either a private person or a government entity. Even a public park has some entity in charge of its care and upkeep. Someone pays for mowing grass and repairing sidewalks, usually the taxpayers, through the municipality, but sometimes a cooperative organization. There are budgets and funding to make the public property accessible and safe for everyone, and rules that get made for maintaining such upkeep. It isn't free or cheap to maintain property, so why do vandals think they are entitled to leave their spraypaint on it?
Public property is exactly what the name says; property that is owned by the public. It may be actively cared for by a government or other organization but the actual owners of the property are considered to be the public. Sidewalks are an example of this.

It gets a lot cheaper when you arent shelling out thousands to constantly paint a building to maintain the process of gentrification and the illusion that people try to create with a clean facade.

Sure, some of it looks good but if a person is stupid enough to leave their creation on something where it is not allowed to be, then they take a chance that it will be destroyed. There was a huge tower erected in a community garden in the East Village, made out of bits and pieces of junk, and it was torn down because it was considered unsafe. People were upset because they said it was art, but the creator of it didn't want to find a private location and pay to move it somewhere else, so away it goes. I had a wonderful art teacher once who said, "Never treat your art as too precious." Sometimes it has a short lifespan. So what? The world keeps spinning. Ask permission to do it first, and then put your graffiti up in an honest way, but there is a reason that graffiti artists scurry away like thieves trying not to get caught.
I'm not saying street art should be protected because it's art, I'm saying it should be left alone. There is a natural cycle with street art where pieces are overwritten and eventually obscured by more pieces, why not let that continue?
 

ThatGirlInGray

New member
I have a problem with graffiti if it's:

1) Vulgar or obscene
2) Gang related or promoting violence
3) Obscuring the useful information already present (like on a highway or street sign)

Granted, that covers a LOT of graffiti (that I've seen, at least) but if it's done to actually be art, I don't personally mind. I understand that graffiti artists are vandalizing property, but if it were my building I wouldn't bother spending the time and effort to remove PG graffiti, thus negating one of the complaints regarding it.
 

hyperskeptic

New member
Public property is exactly what the name says; property that is owned by the public. It may be actively cared for by a government or other organization but the actual owners of the property are considered to be the public. Sidewalks are an example of this.

Do you mean to imply that, because it belongs to the public, any individual member of the public has the right to do whatever she or he wants to it?

That just isn't so.

Public ownership is collective, not individual. Decisions about public property are to be made by the public as a whole, by the lawful representatives of the public, or by whatever other authority is entrusted with making decisions on behalf of the public.

If the public or its lawful representatives makes some provision for graffiti or street art on public property, then it would be legitimate. Random individuals do not have legitimate authority to make decisions on behalf of the public as a whole.

But, then, the whole point of graffiti is to defy authority, to be lawless, right? In that case, public authorities are certainly justified in taking action against it.

(Sorry, I sometimes teach courses in political philosophy, and I tend to get all Rousseauvian on questions like this . . .)
 

Becca

Member
Authorities do have the authority to cover up graffiti, sure, and they have the right to impose the will of the majority (for a plain beige environment) and to overcome the desire of the disenfranchised lawless minority for self expression.

When I don't like what they expressing (if it's not aesthetically pleasant to my own subjective taste, when it's crude, when it expresses allegiance to a group of people who advocate violence, when it expresses a political opinion with which I disagree), I am all for beige.

When I like what's being expressed (simple expression of individuality, or where it shows technical skills in executing a pleasant or interesting artistic expression), then I lean in favor of the lawless artists.

I do appreciate art (as I define it), wherever I find it, and I don't like to see it disappear. I recognize that one thing that makes good street art valuable is that it is ephemeral. And in the end, I also appreciate the tension between the lawful advocates of beige and the unlawful energy of chaotic expression. Both forces ought to exist, and both forces do good things.
 

Malfunktions

New member
There are giant billboards along virtually every street in the country. It's virtually impossible to escape these monolithic images. I dislike them, they very clearly have an impact on the public, and they're often on public property. Yet no one really seems to want to decry them as being blights.

I would much rather have the monolithic ugliness of an add then what we have here. Imagine your driving along contentedly and then all of a sudden God Is yelling at you that you have sinned to believe abortion is in!

Country roads here are littered with distasteful "God is watching" propaganda.

On the note of taggin, I love them. I can tell the amatures, the pros, the unsung greats, the over commercialized mundanes and even those profane and sometimes outrageously unclean tags are an expression of their individuality (al be it schathy and I attractive. What and where they tag is a statement of their overall being.

In Scotland there is a small castle, Kelburn Castle in Glasgow. The artist, Tristan Manco was approached by the Earl who own sthe castle to commission it to be painted and then he had made it a permanent tourist attraction and historical site. Due to the double standard way of thinking it has no been washed and unfortunately that neighbourhood is awash with grey once again.

If anyone is interested, here's a pic.
http://www.whatsondalian.com/news-1...ffiti-on-his-13th-century-kelburn-castle.html
 
Last edited:
Top